Why You Need Automation Testing For Mobile Apps & The Right Way To Do It


No software development team would limit its efforts while testing the products. It is imperative that the team wouldn’t want to see any defects creeping in during the release. However, no matter how hard you strive to catch the bugs – applying even the best manual test processes – you are at risk to see bugs reappearing in the finally delivered software.

The challenge is common, especially, for the startups. The best-suited answer to your constraints is automation testing, especially when you are building mobile apps. Automation is your gateway to a more effective, flawless and foolproof testing.

As we take you through the discussion that why automation testing is required in the current article, the questions that will first arise in your mind will be what manual testing challenges are you likely to face and why automation testing is needed instead of manual. So, let’s first answer these one by one.

Manual Testing Challenges Faced

In manual testing, it is a human facing the computer and cautiously flipping his vision through application screens. He makes all efforts to ensure that the input combinations elicit the expected behavior. This human tested has to also record the results and observations on each step he takes.

Now, each time the source code changes, the human tester has to repeat the whole process. So, throughout the development cycle, the tester needs to repeat the tests numerous times. This costs time and money.

On the other hand, an automation testing tool has pre-defined actions with the facility to playback. This automation and highly extended capacity of the tool to repeat the testing process allows the engineer to ensure a much better quality of testing.

  • Manual testing is slow and costly. Because it is very labor-intensive, it takes a long time to complete tests. Increasing headcount increases cost.
  • Manual tests don’t scale well. As the complexity of the software increases, the complexity of the testing problem grows exponentially. This leads to an increase in the total time devoted to testing as well as the total cost of testing.
  • Manual testing is not consistent or repeatable. Variations in how the tests are performed are inevitable, for various reasons. One tester may approach and perform a certain test differently from another, resulting in different results on the same test, because the tests are not being performed identically.
  • Lack of training is a common problem, although not unique to manual software testing.
  • Testing is difficult to manage. There are more unknowns and greater uncertainty in testing than in code development. Modern software development practices are well-structured, but if you don’t have sufficient structure in testing, it will be difficult to manage.

Also read Top Multi-Tenancy Testing Challenges in SaaS Applications and How to Resolve Them.

Why And When Automation Testing Is Needed To Compliment Manual Testing

Usually, when you’re working for a small company with few financial resources, this is going to be your best option. A big advantage of manual testing is the ability to see real user issues. Unlike a robot, when developing software, going through manually allows you to see bugs that a real user could face.

Manual testing also gives you a lot more flexibility. Using automated tools, it’s difficult to change values in the program once you begin testing. When manually testing, you can quickly test the results and it allows you to see which ideas work the best.

Automated testing is best to use when you’re working on a large project, and there are many system users. The biggest advantages of automated testing are its relative quickness and effectiveness.

Once your initial test is set up, it’s an easy process to repeat tests, continuously fill out the same information and everything is done for you automatically. Therefore, its saves huge effort in regression testing of each release.

As suggested by a Lead SDET at Microsoft “It only makes sense to use automated testing tools when the costs of acquiring the tool and building and maintaining the tests is less than the efficiency gained from the effort.”

What Is An Automation Framework

A framework is a constructive blend of various guidelines, coding standards, concepts, processes, practices, project hierarchies, modularity, reporting mechanism, test data injections etc. to pillar automation testing. Therefore, the user can follow these guidelines while automating application to take advantages of various productive results.

Automation for QC is a very important aspect but more critical is the choice of the tool that is required for the automation. There are many tools available in market place for automation testing of mobile apps. all of these tools stands with some pro and some cons for e.g. some of these tools support only android and some needs huge budget. Below are few examples of available best tools present today

  • Robotium Android Testing Tool
  • Telerik Test Studio
  • MonkeyRunner Android App Testing
  • Ranorex Android Application Testing Tool
  • Appium Automation Framework
  • UI Automator for Android Test Automation

The basic criteria for you to choose the tool should be following

  • Ease of use
  • No/Limited programming knowledge required
  • Robust and scalable
  • Should be able to support Android and iOS apps
  • Should be working with multiple languages

Why You Should Prefer Appium For Better Results In Automation Testing

Out of the many options available in the market, it was decided to hold hands with Appium tool. Appium aims to automate any mobile app from any language and any test framework, with full access to back-end APIs and DBs from test code. Write tests with your favorite dev tools using any programming languages with the Selenium WebDriver API or language-specific client libraries.

Appium is an open-source tool for automating native, mobile web, and hybrid applications on iOS and Android platforms. Native apps are those written using the iOS or Android SDKs. Mobile web apps are web apps accessed using a mobile browser (Appium supports Safari on iOS and Chrome or the built-in ‘Browser’ app on Android). Hybrid apps have a wrapper around a “webview” — a native control that enables interaction with web content. Projects like Phonegap, make it easy to build apps using web technologies that are then bundled into a native wrapper, creating a hybrid app.

Importantly, Appium is “cross-platform”: it allows you to write tests against multiple platforms (iOS, Android), using the same API. This enables code reuse between iOS and Android test suites.

Though various tools are available in the market, both commercial and open-source, Appium stands out of all for the following reasons

  • Appium is a freely distributed open source mobile application UI testing framework.
  • Appium allows native, hybrid and web application testing and supports automation test on physical devices as well as on emulator or simulator both.
  • It offers cross-platform application testing i.e. single API works for both Android and iOS platform test scripts.
  • It has no dependency on Mobile device OS. Because, Appium has framework or wrapper that translate Selenium Webdriver commands into UIAutomation (iOS) or UIAutomator (Android) commands depending on the device type not any OS type.
  • It supports all languages that have Selenium client libraries like- Java, Objective-C, JavaScript with node.js, PHP, Ruby, Python, C# etc.

How does Appium work for Android?


  • Appium client (C# or Java) connects with Appium Server and communicate via JSON Wire Protocol
  • Appium Server then creates an automation session for the client and also checks the desired capabilities of client and connects with respective vendor-provided frameworks like Selendroid/UIAutomator (based on android versions)
  • Vendor-provided frameworks will then communicate with bootstrap.jar which is running in Emulator/Real device for performing client operations.
  • Bootstrap.jar act as a TCP server to perform action on our AUT (Application Under Test)

How Appium works with iOS?


  • Appium client (Java or Python) connects with Appium Server and communicate via JSON Wire Protocol
  • Appium Server then creates an automation session for the client and also checks the desired capabilities of client and connects with respective vendor-provided framework UIAutomation
  • UIAutomation will then communicate with bootstrap.js which is running in Simulator/Real device for performing client operations
  • Bootstrap.js will perform action on our AUT (Application Under Test)


There are quite a few considerations to make based upon your project when deciding to go with manual or automated testing. Make sure you make an educated and well-informed decision that’s best for your specific project needs. The bottomline is to reduce the time taken for testing along with the ease–of-use for QC.

If you are looking for any help on building any digital solution for a better customer or employee engagement, please contact us at [email protected].

Gaurav Salwan

About the Author

Gaurav Salwan has extensive experience in Automation as well as manual testing with expertise. His proficiency lies in testing methodlogies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Microsoft headquartered in Redmond- WA, USA. During his personal time, he likes to spend time with his kids, and exploring new travel destinations.

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